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"2018.06.23 duet with Neely Bruce — Middletown, CT — via Skype": Starting on January 1st, 2018, I began making a movie every day of me playing (M)Usic. The plan was to shoot one every day of 2018 & to string together excerpts from each of them in chronological order to make a feature-length movie to be called "365". Along the way I decided to compile monthly reports named by month & year, e.g.: "January, 2018", & to release these online a month after they were done. Hence, "January, 2018" was uploaded on March 1, 2018. I started thinking about each month more & more thematically. "May, 2018" became my piano month. "June, 2018" is my duets month. It was difficult to find 30 local people willing to play a duet with me to meet my goal of a different duet for every day in June so I contacted people in my international contacts to somehow make a duet together — using Skype or some other means. We've been playing the duets for as long as they take, spontaneously deciding when they were over, & then I've been excerpting roughly :20 to a minute to use in "June, 2018" & "365". At 1st, each movie that I made documenting each duet was thought of as little more than raw footage but, gradually, they started seeming like significant works in & of themselves. SO, after I'd edited the footage I shot with Michael Pestal via FaceTime, I decided to declare each movie to stand on its own & to break my pattern of waiting a month to post the monthly footage to post one of these daily duets every other day starting on June 16th, until mid-August when all of them would be uploaded. This 23rd one features Neely Bruce on grand piano. I played "Brazil" samples (& DX27S sounds) made from the music of Heitor Villa-Lobos & from Brazilian bird-calls. I probably 1st heard Neely play on the "HPSCHD" record that I got in 1974. "HPSCHD" is a collaboration between John Cage & Lejaren Hiller, 2 composers of great importance to me. Neely studied with Hiller. The 1st time I heard Neely play in concert, if I heard him then at all, was at the John Cage Symposium on Friday, May 5, 1989, at the Strathmore Hall Arts Center. From 3:25-3:45 he performed a "Lecture Demonstration: The Society of Song Books: Performance as Political Metaphor". I finally got to play with him at Michael Pestel's house in Middletown, CT, on Saturday, November 27, 2004. That session also included J. Tracy Mortimore, Michael Pestel, & Elise Springer. I published a CD-R called "Middle-Q" from this. I gave it that name because most of the time we were a quartet but there were some minutes when we were all together, making it a quintet. I later had the pleasure of spending Thanksgiving at his house where the hospitality abounded. We got to play together one more time in honor of another special event at Michael's. Neely has dinstinguished himself in more ways than I'm ever likely to enumerate. One way was in the performance of all of Charles Ives's songs. It was fantastic to be able to play a duet with him — even under the technically iffy conditions. I hope that we get to do it again! On a different note, I often explain to people that I'm not a musician, that I'm a Usician, a Low Classicist, a booed usician, a Sound Thinker, etc. People often seem to agree that I'm not a musician because they hate the way I play so much & hate the way I break all sorts of unwritten laws about what makes 'good music'. In other words, they don't understand that I'm trying to make a point that I'm thinking about context & creatively exploring it. - tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE note written on July 26, 2018E.V.
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